Thursday, December 06, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Five-Year Engagement (2012) **½

R, 124 min.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writers: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, Dakota Johnson, Rhys Ifans, Mindy Kaling, Randall Park, Kevin Hart, Brian Posehn, Chris Parnell

“The Five-Year Engagement” is the latest bittersweet romantic comedy from the actor/writing/director team of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. They’ve left muppetland behind and return to more adult waters similar to their previous laugh riot rom com “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. “The Five-Year Engagement” is a little more grown up than that effort and so I guess must be a little more depressing? Well, I don’t think it must be, but it is.

The movie follows a couple that meets on New Year’s Eve, and after a year of dating, decide to pull the trigger. They get engaged and then their lives get in the way. Her sister and his best friend meet at their engagement party and are married before the couple even has a chance to book a venue. Then, she gets a job at the University of Michigan. He’s a California chef and finds himself lost in the winter wilderness that is Michigan.

The movie is very funny through its opening act. The middle get a little bogged down in the man’s downfall, having lost all the passions that drove him as a chef in San Francisco. Is it a surprise that they drift apart and eventually call off the wedding and then realize that all that matters is that they love each other so they get back together? No, and although the film is well made and has that same “Freaks and Geeks” style humor that sky rocketed Segel to stardom, I wish it wasn’t so formulaic. Couldn’t we see a romantic comedy in which the lovers have to deal with all the trials in tribulations of life without ever forgetting the fact that they love each other? Here’s hoping for “This is 40”.

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